Trust in Group Decisions: A scoping review

Jason E. Sapp*, Dario M. Torre, Kelsey L. Larsen, Eric S. Holmboe, Steven J. Durning

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Trust is a critical component of competency committees given their high-stakes decisions. Research from outside of medicine on group trust has not focused on trust in group decisions, and "group trust" has not been clearly defined. The purpose was twofold: to examine the definition of trust in the context of group decisions and to explore what factors may influence trust from the perspective of those who rely on competency committees through a proposed group trust model. Methods: The authors conducted a literature search of four online databases, seeking articles published on trust in group settings. Reviewers extracted, coded, and analyzed key data including definitions of trust and factors pertaining to group trust. Results: The authors selected 42 articles for full text review. Although reviewers found multiple general definitions of trust, they were unable to find a clear definition of group trust and propose the following: a group-directed willingness to accept vulnerability to actions of the members based on the expectation that members will perform a particular action important to the group, encompassing social exchange, collective perceptions, and interpersonal trust. Additionally, the authors propose a model encompassing individual level factors (trustor and trustee), interpersonal interactions, group level factors (structure and processes), and environmental factors. Conclusions: Higher degrees of trust at the individual and group levels have been associated with attitudinal and performance outcomes, such as quality of group decisions. Developing a deeper understanding of trust in competency committees may help these committees implement more effective and meaningful processes to make collective decisions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number309
JournalBMC Medical Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - 14 Aug 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Competency committee
  • Decision
  • Group
  • Trust


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